Use of live ammunition contradicts 'rubber bullet as last resort' instruction
The police's use of live ammunition at Marikana seems to contradict an instruction that only rubber bullets be used as a last resort to quell unrest, according to a report.
"The use of rubber bullets and shotguns must stop immediately," reads a letter, issued on December 20, 2011, by Lt-Gen Elias Mawela, of the police's operational response unit.
The memo makes reference to Andries Tatane, killed in a protest in Ficksburg in April 2011, when he was shot at close range by a rubber bullet.
"Less lethal methods must be employed to control crowds. Negotiation is still the first option," reads the letter, which was circulated countrywide in the police's top ranks.
Failing this, stun grenades, a water cannon, and a 40mm teargas launcher could be used.
Before police resorted to live ammunition at Marikana, they used a water cannon, rubber bullets, teargas, stun grenades, and shotguns, according to Rapport.
"The extent of the violence must be proportional to the seriousness of the situation," Mawela wrote.